Fire incidents occur frequently and unfortunately frequency increases during the winters. Tragically also, properties worth crores of rupees were reduced to ashes. The public memory seems notoriously short and naturally, there is a shock when some people lose their dwelling and household properties, collected painstakingly for years, to the fire accident. There are numerous fire incidents that destroyed everything and even claimed precious lives in the past.
The frequency increases during winter and there is always negligence on part of people in ignoring among others overloading of the power wire or sockets, or through the use of faulty electrical appliances, electrical room heaters or electric blankets.
People also tend to ignore safety measures and as such fail to incorporate fire safety measures during construction and installing fire extinguishers, at home and offices.
The burning issues brought to the fore during most fire incidents have remained more or less the same over the years, underscoring that smokescreens are put up to hide the poor standards of firefighting gear.
Unfortunately, the fire hydrants have vanished or are non-functional at most places. Not only this, the road obstructions are such that fire tenders seldom reach the spot on time causing considerable delays in extinguishing the blaze. The administration needs to put the focus on effective enforcement of the National Building Code and related laws which specify the demarcation of fire zones, restrictions on construction of buildings in each fire zone, classification of buildings based on occupancy, types of building construction according to fire resistance of the structural and non-structural components and other restrictions and requirements necessary to minimize dangers to life from fire, smoke, fumes or panic.
As per NCRB data, 60,507 lives were lost in fire incidents between 2015 and 2018 across India. Put another way, on average, 35 people die in a fire every day in India.
This is all reported and yet the response has, more often than not, been knee-jerk to every major fire mishap with no long-term vision to prevent their recurrence. The people tend to forget them; more importantly overlook the necessity of taking preventive measures which prove to be costlier later. The most common reasons for the fire are well-known and causes mostly revolve around human error—accident or negligence including improper use of gas, charcoal, or firewood Bukharies besides short-circuits.
There is also a need to be extra vigilant and take fire-mitigating measures which will help minimize loss, both on life and the property front.